Garden Journal :: in the greenhouse

This little world of abundance is only really possible under the cover of hoops & plastic during late fall/winter.

As much as I love the birds and other wildlife it really is a bummer to go out into the garden to see everything all eaten and destroyed.

In other garden beds we have some lentils, calendula, swiss chard & mustard greens too, but not quite as photogenic. As much as I enjoy each moment of the wheel of the year I am really looking forward to spring

Be it spring of fall I wish you all happy gardening!


Garden Journal :: herbs of autumn + reading list

The autumn equinox has passed and was celebrated during many days along with my partner’s birthday on the 25th. In the garden the summer fruits like cucumber and tomato are in their last weeks while the leafy greens are being seeded for fall and winter to come.

Basil, lemon balm, and marigolds are all going strong and keeping the garden landscape beautiful during this transitional time. All around the garden in the surrounding hedge rows the trees are turning yellow and loosing their leaves. The sun has changed course and every day is at more of an angle which makes for interesting lighting and photography opportunities.

Reading List ::

As the morning sun is slowly making his way over the mountains, I am spending these chilly first hours each day with a cup of tea, often a cat (or two, or three) nearby, and a book as I continue on in my studies. I wanted to share my herbalist reading list with you all::

– Planetary Herbalism by Michael Tierra — my fav. herbal reference book ever! I go to this book again & again to check out remedies for symptoms as well as research new herbs. There are no pictures in this book, so it isnt for identifying. But what I do love about it is that this book ties western herbalism in with Traditional Chinese herbalism as well as Ayurveda. I found it via thrift books.

– del Cuerpos a las Raíces by Pabla Perez & others — this book is a bit eclectic and was originally published as a zine years ago. It contains stories, interviews, and herbal profiles about medicinal plants common all over & local to Chile. In some ways it is an ethnographical study of herbalism in rural Chile, in other ways it is quite a radical perspective of rural ladies using their herbs and their powers to heal themselves.

– Botànica Oculta : Las Plantas Mágicas — my honey gifted me this book for the New Year and it is quite fascinating. Both magical and medicinal properties are listed for each herb as well as a bit of theory about plant alchemy which is a subject I am just starting to dive into. This book is available in English & many other languages too!!


Weaving with Willow 🌿

Basket making is a future goal though during the herb-drying season, woven trays are super useful! I really have to thank this instagram and tumblr for filling my feed with endless inspiration for artistic and useful projects using materials made directly from nature. It is a funny thing, that social media reminded me of something so ancestral: making use and making useful things with the resources that grow naturally around us. 🌳

Online you can find all kinds of tutorials for making baskets but I always go with this wild weave – this one is new and needs to dry but the ones I made last summer are holding up just fine. All you need is lots of fresh willow and time.


Garden Journal :: Summer to Fall

Looking forward to the fall garden because, to be honest, our summer garden was not very productive.

In years past we harvested more tomatoes & cucumbers than we knew what to do with but this year only the basil did well, sadly.

But I want to be honest, gardening is hard and sometimes things go wrong without any clear reason as to why. I think, in this case, we haven’t had a good summer season because we tried to take on too much: we extended the garden beds, tried out new crops in addition to work and all the other responsibilities of our work-trade for living here.

And another reason might be that this is just a sign (one of many) that we aren’t meant to live here permanently, that the time to move on from this farm is coming.

So, this upcoming fall I’m committing to doing less and focusing on what I know grows well: leafy greens and herbs as well as scaling back to just a few, intensive garden beds and potted plants.

Wherever you are, and whatever season it is , I wish you luck in your gardening efforts.


New Horizons : Libra Gardener Seeds

This project has been several years in the making and started by a simple desire to produce something in my garden that can be shared with the world. Over the years I mulled over several business plans and even considered selling dried herbs which I grow. But that didnt really work and there doesn’t seem to actually be a need for more herbal products.

As the world changes, more and more folks are wondering how they can be positive influences on their local environments. Of course there are many, many ways to help Earth return to an ecological equilibrium. One such way is by planting a garden for pollinators & other beneficial insects – and this is a topic I am particularly passionate about, so it seemed like a good ideally on which to center my sustainable biz around.

Here in our garden we grow flowers of all kinds, perennial native plants alongside herbs and non-native animal flowers. Over the years I have been saving seed and planting successive generations and now I am at a point of wanting to share some of my favorite and easiest to grow from seed flowers: calendula, marigold, and culinary poppy.

On my Etsy page I posted a listing with those three seed packets and an accompanying zine with info about planting for pollinators and some articles about herbalism too.

A couple of pages from the zine featuring some of the most common butterflies of North & South America.

All together this is a perfect little starting point for growing a beautiful flower garden in almost any climate of the world and would be a great gift for yourself or some other aspiring gardener this spring.

In a future post I will go more in depth about each of these three flowers and in previous posts have talked about the butterflies in greater detail as well. So, expect more flower-goodness soon, until then I will leave you with the link to the listing if you are interested in supporting the world I do with this blog & in real life as well, thanks!


Capricorn Season :: in the garden

Capricorn is often seen as a pessimistic sign and usually associated with hard work.

My garden-based interpretation of Capricorn season as a time of Earth-based work. Depending on what season it is where you are, this could be a time for: adding mulch to garden beds, making compost and, planting seeds for the future (both metaphorical and physical).

Here, it is the height of summer, tomatoes are just starting to ripen and the first wave of sunflower blooms is occurring. The soil needs extra nourishment to continue on producing and another round of sowing seeds too.

Bumble bees enjoying the abundance of sunflowers in bloom.

If it is winter now for you, maybe this is the time for composting and planning for the upcoming growing season – planning is a very favorite activity of Capricorn.

During Capricorn season (December 21st to January 19th) and new year celebrations there is lots of discussion about planting (metaphorical) seeds and setting goals + intentions for this new year.

Seed saving dry beans for next year’s garden.

How does Capricorn factor into your birth chart? What planets or houses traversed the sign of Capricorn at the moment of your birth?

If you haven’t already, take a look at this section of your natal chart. This will help as a guide to how to best embody and work with the sign of Capricorn as well as working with the powers of the sun and venus which are both currently in this pragmatic & practical sign

And one last thing :: Happy New Year, many blessings for 2022!!


In the Flowers

In a couple of weeks we will have to mow this field and transform this section into the lawn-landscape that the owner prefers. Mowing down these flowers isn’t something I am excited about but, I accept this as part of my duty as a landscaper and part of our trade for getting to live here.

So, before that time comes I wanted to appreciate and share this field of flowers as the wildlife refuge that it is 10 months out of the year:

If you want to see a bumble bee go to a standof thistles and wait.

For now this is just part of the job of a landscaper …

… that is until the permaculture revolution takes hold of this planet (once again).


Container Gardening

Even if you don’t have much space, you can still make a green oasis at your home. Ceramic & plastic pots make great places to grow the garden of your dreams. In fact, some herbs prefer growing in containers! In this post I am going to share some of my favorite container plants and how we use and grow them.

Take a peak just outside the backdoor of my parents home you will see our collection of potted plants. They are all located right beside the kitchen door and adjacent to the hose so they never go unwatered or forgotten. In this picture you see mostly culinary herbs like mint, shiso and ezpazote. Instead of planting them in the main garden where the sun can be intense in summer, we are keeping them in pots & close to the kitchen. This way the leaves are always fresh and easily on hand for garnishing dishes fresh out of the oven or to throw into a green salad.

Mint :: is growing in several pots around the yard. Most grow mint in pots to keep the vigorous grower contained and limit its ability to overtake other plants. We grow mint in a plastic pot to help it maintain the humidity it needs (and is hard to come by in this dry climate). We use mint dried in tea, fresh in mojitos and in herbal pesto. Yum!

Aloe :: this succulent medicinal loves to grow in containers as it needs great drainage. We do have aloe plants planted in the ground but they just do not thrive as these potted plants do. Aloe is essential for skin issues and sun burns so we always have a couple of plants nearby to be cut open and the sap lathered onto a rash or whatever the skin ailment is. These big ceramic pots are great for filling in areas like this rocky patio where we often sit with drinks on summer evenings.

Pots for planting :: much of our container garden is dedicated to starting young plants, like these valerian and calendulas, that just aren’t quite ready to be planted out in the garden. In these ceramic pots and in our nursery area the plants are protected from intense sun and are watered often. In a couple of weeks they will be planted into the herb garden out in the front yard.